Courtney Lancaster, a mother and Navy Veteran, expressed her outrage after police pulled up to her door and asked to search her home for weapons. According to the police, the school safety officer at Lancaster’s 11-year-old son’s school, Seneca Elementary, called law enforcement after spotting a BB gun in the background of a virtual class meeting.
“I had no idea what to think. I’ve never been in any legal trouble whatsoever. I’ve never had any negative encounter with law enforcement,” she told Fox 45 News. “I had no idea. I really didn’t know what to think.”
Although officers searched her 5th grader’s room and found nothing that compromised the son’s safety or that needed to be reported, Lancaster claims that she was shocked.
“I felt violated as a parent, for my child, who’s standing there with police officers in his room, just to see the fear on his face,” she said.
Part of Lancaster’s frustrations with the situation were because of her and her son’s experience with guns. According to Fox 45 News, not only did Lancaster serve in the military and handle weapons, but her son learned how to shoot BB and airsoft on his journey to becoming an Eagle Scout.
“I thought, this is outrageous. This is despicable,” she told Fox. “I had no idea what in the world could this be over? BB guns never even once entered my mind. How many 11-year-old boys have BB guns?”
When she first reached out to the school via email, Lancaster expressed her concerns that she was not contacted first to ask questions before calling law enforcement. Seneca Falls Elementary administrators then told her that the school made the decision to call, fearing for her son’s safety after a screenshot of the BB gun circulated to the staff.
“It’s absolutely scary to think about,” Courtney said. “Who are on these calls? Who do we have viewing your children and subsequently taking these screenshots that can be sent anywhere or used for any purpose?”
Lancaster also told Fox 45 News that in her first conversation with the principal, the school administrator claimed that the BB gun in the background was equivalent to bringing a gun to school.
Not only is Lancaster unsure of the school’s policies on these issues moving forward, but Lancaster also said that she’s losing her faith in the school district to keep her privacy.
“There’s no more trust. There have just been a series of lies and just no cooperation,” she said.
In a statement requested by Project Baltimore, Baltimore County Schools claimed that their priority is always students and staff, but refused to elaborate on the situation.
“Our longstanding policy is to not debate individual circumstances through the media. There are multiple ways for families to share concerns with us. In general terms, the safety of students and staff is our chief concern, whether we are meeting in classrooms or via continuity of learning.”